People Are Quick to Criticize Low Calorie Diets

September 29, 2008

I am a subscriber to Brad Pilon’s newsletter. He is the author of one of my favorite diet books, Eat Stop Eat. He just sent out a great article in the newsletter that I’d love to expand upon. The article is titled: Are You the Victim and the Villain? It is about how people are quick to criticize an aggressive low calorie diet.

Eat Stop Eat

[I was overdue for a picture of a fit woman in a swimsuit. I know it is borderline tacky, but it just makes the article more fun to read!]

Eating Less Is the Simplest Route to Losing Weight

As Brad puts it, the politically correct answer to give when someone asks about losing weight is by “eating healthy”…but “eating less” is the scientifically correct answer. You can eat a lot of healthy foods, but if you eat more than you burn…you are NOT going to lose weight.

A Proper Diet is the Foundation to Weight Loss

You can’t “out exercise” a bad diet. What you eat is a huge indicator of how lean you will become. I didn’t really believe this until this past summer. Due to a full-time job, girlfriend, running a couple of sites, etc…I didn’t have much time for exercising. In fact, I have averaged 2 times per week the past 3 months. I figured I wouldn’t look as lean only getting to the gym 2 times per week. What was the answer?

 Luckily, I Knew About Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting is a way to put your body in a ‘fasted state’ for a while alternated with a period of  eating. In the past I tried a version of this called the Warrior Diet. The Warrior Diet was good, but slightly unrealistic. It is based upon eating once per day. Eat Stop Eat is a scientific version of Intermittent Fasting that I like best. Brad based this book upon his graduate paper “The Metabolic Effects of Short Periods of Fasting in Humans and its Potential Application in Weight Loss”.

So I Now Go Low Calorie a Couple of Times A Week

A blog post won’t due Brad’s book justice,  but basically I fast twice per week in a strategic way. I eat normal food the rest of the time and even eat higher calorie food on certain days. People who hang out with me on my fasting days are quick to criticize my “weird” way of eating. The funny thing is that it is backed up with strong scientific research and works amazingly well.

Won’t the Weight Loss Come from Muscle?

A common misconception about fasting is that you will waste away and lose hard earned muscle mass. Brad points out a scientific study in his book that indicates that you will retain all your hard earned muscle by just strength training twice per week! This means if you want the weight loss to come from fat, you only need to hit the gym twice per week. I think you will look your best if you can go around 4-5 times per week, but that really isn’t necessary if you just want to lose body fat.

People Are Quick to Call a Low Calorie Diet an Eating Disorder

True…there are people with eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, but for every one of those people…there are over 100 people who eat too much! If you are overweight it is simply because you eat more than you need to. It is politically incorrect to tell people that they are eating too much, but everyone joins in when they see someone skipping a few meals.

Fasting Makes Your Digestive System Feel Better

The two biggest things I notice on low calorie days is an energy surge and how good my digestive system feels. When you give your body a break from food and just drink a lot of water it really cleans out your system. It is amazing how much better food digests once you get back to eating. I really believe that our bodies weren’t meant to digest food around the clock.

To Lose Weight, Find a Simple Way to Reduce the Amount of Calories You Eat

You certainly don’t need to do Intermittent Fasting to lose weight, it just leaves you with a larger margin of error (plus you can get away with eating high calorie stuff every now and then). You could be strict on a daily basis and reduce your portions and eat lower calorie foods. The bottom line is that you do need to eat lower calories than you are now. Find some way that works for you and you will see results!

Note:  I am a big fan of Eat Stop Eat, but realize than many people are tight on money. It isn’t too expensive, but don’t get it if you can’t afford it. Instead, just go to Brad’s site and opt-in to his free newsletter. You will learn lot from reading his e-mails. Certainly one of the best newsletters on the Internet.

Important Message: Although this site has received 25+ million visitors, I am starting from scratch and abandoning it. This site is dated and old school looking, terrible to read on mobile, etc.

It's like a Ford Pinto compared to my new site...which is like a Ferrari. Click the link to head over to my new site.

Starting Over...R.I.P. Fitness Black Book!


Thanks for reading all these years!



 

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{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

karie September 29, 2008 at 9:43 pm

thanks for the post. i have yet to give IF a try as i’m so fearful of becoming soooo hungry i binge. but i’m binging once a week anyway so i really don’t have anything to lose except giving it a try. I was going to do IF by not eating till lunch but haven’t done it yet. i’m taking the week off from working out since i feel run down so mabe this would be a good time to give it a go. one other question i have is can i workout first thing in the morning and then wait for lunch? i ask b/c i workout at 6a.m. which is my only time to do so but my life would work better fasting in the morining so i can enjoy a nice dinner with my husband later that evening. is it bad do fast after a workout?

Venkat September 29, 2008 at 10:55 pm

Rusty,
Great article! I recently bought Brad’s ebook and I like his simple approach. I have been doing the 24 hour fast a couple of times a week and it feels great. Any suggestions on getting rid of the last bit of abdominal fat? I am at 5 ft 9, 160-165 lbs and I would like to see definition in my abs.
By the way , I was in Seattle this last weekend and really enjoyed it. Beautiful city and there was no rain when I was there!
Regards

Michael September 29, 2008 at 11:49 pm

I’ve only been following your website for a bout a month now, but I’ve taken the time to go back and read all the articles I could. I followed the link at the top of the site to Brad’s page after my first visit here. I started fasting once a week and haven’t found it troubling at all so starting October I will be doing it twice a week. I’m currently attending University full time and have found that by fasting on the days that I know I will be very busy it cuts out a big mental distraction of needing to plan my next meal or snack. I’ve lost just under 10 pounds but the really amazing thing for me is that on the days I’m not fasting I eat almost identically to how I did when I was 10 pounds heavier. I’m forever grateful to you for helping me find the best way for me to lose weight and live a leaner life. Thanks Rusty!

Nathan September 30, 2008 at 12:43 am

Hi there,

Just curious as to why you think the Warrior Diet is unrealistic? I started with the Warrior Diet as well, but decided that it is not true IF and moved on to something similar to the Fast-5 approach (closer to a Fast-1). The means are different, but the end is the same. I’ve only been doing this for about six weeks now, but I would say it is definitely realistic, and quite enjoyable.

Also, for those interested, the Fast-5 book is available online for free at the Fast-5 web site: http://www.fast-5.com/. I have not personally read it, but it’s there if anyone would like to.

Yegin - No Diet Needed September 30, 2008 at 1:22 am

Hey Rusty,
I was trying to get some info about IF. This is great. And thanks one more for the input for the general perspective to low carb intake habits. Although it shouldn’t matter, it is really hard to ignore what is being said . I was once labeled as obsessive compulsive for not touching the fries that came with a burger :).

Methuselah September 30, 2008 at 1:49 am

Rusty – when I read the title of this post I thought you were going to advocate normal low calorie diets….then was relieved to read that you are talking about intermittent fasting!

I am assuming that for the most part you follow your hunger on non-fasting days when you are IF-ing in this way, then make up for the days of fasting my eating more on the other days – thus on balance are not really on a low calorie diet, just low calorie days within a normal calorie diet – do I have this right? I’m a big fan of IF because although you have days of being hungry, the rest of the time you don’t need to be, unlike with regular diets that restrict calories in a more gradual fashion, where you are slightly hungry all the time.

I have not checked out Brad’s site , but will do – maybe this will clarify some of the subtleties for me.

Kellen September 30, 2008 at 2:31 am

I love it that you make the point that you must decrease caloric intake to lose weight. You cannot exercise away overeating. This is so true and so simple, yet most do not get it. I would be interested to know what you mean by “I fast twice per week in a strategic way”. What exactly do mean by a “strategic way” and how many calories do you take in on that day? About how many calories do you eat on a “normal” day?

Thanks,
Kellen

Adam Steer, Momentum Wellness September 30, 2008 at 6:02 am

It’s so true that Intermittent Fasting often draws a knee-jerk reaction from people addicted to the SAD (Standard American Diet). But it is a great way to get the calorie restriction you are talking about Rusty without feeling constantly deprived. I’ve been using it to varying degrees for almost a year now, and have found many ways to apply it in conjunction with other methods to meet various goals (fat loss, muscle gain, maintenance).

IF itself isn’t rocket science. You eat, you stop, you eat some more. The beauty of Eat-Stop-Eat is that Brad lays out the science for you so nicely. And as you say Rusty, there is also lots of free information out there from Brad if you want to try before you buy. Brad’s a friend of mine, and after discussing IF with him a few times he agreed to do an audio interview with me. I think it lasts around 45 minutes. You can find that and a bunch of links to articles on the web at a page I put together for Brad’s ebook. (http://www.squidoo.com/eat-stop-eat).

Thanks again for the article!
Adam

eric September 30, 2008 at 7:55 am

thank you rusty for this post!! i follow eat stop eat for a while now and i also have to say that i enoj it! i think i eat similar to you which means that i fast two days a week for 24h. or do you follow a dfferrent approach? i have to admit that i am very releaved to hear that you eat quite normal on your eating days. before i thought you stress a bit too much about eating healthy and all this stuff. thats why i called you an obsessive compulsive eater in one of my comments. i am really sorry! i learned that you balance a enjoable life which includes diet, work, exercise but fun and excitement as well..i didnt know you are so intressted in music and going to concerts! i also checked the bnd that you recommended ..they sound pretty cool! before you think im just an apple polisher 😉 i have also a few questions. how do explain your way of eating to others? i have problems with my family and friends who are very septical about eat stop eat. and how do your workouts look like at the moment? similar to you i have not much time to work out..i can manage to go to the gym 2-3 times a week..my long term goals are no weight loss because i am as lean as i want but i aim to gain strentgh and muscle definition to get the toned and slim”hollywood” looking body. how would you structure the workouts if you were in my situation?
sorry if this was too long but i just had to express my thoughts

Helder September 30, 2008 at 9:33 am

I Loved this post, you know a while after reducing the amounts of food and calories, you start to feel really good and very energetic. When i first started to reduce carbs and eating frequency, in the first weeks i was feeling depleted, no energy, then i started to add a few high calorie meals every 2 or 3 days, and that felt really good, since then i eat only 3 meals a day, and i only eat carbs and high calories once every 3 days in average, unless i have a special dinner or party, but after my body got adapted to this i feel light, energetic, i feel really good, and i’m keeping my muscle mass, losing mainly that extra fat, in my case it was easy to lose, because i never let things get out of control, i keep basically lean all year. The only exception to this was a few years ago when i bulked for a few months, that will never happen again, so i nver get tired of saying this, if if someone’s purpose is to get big, don’t do it by bulking, all you’ll get is fat and unhealthy, your cholesterol and triglicerids will get high, i mean dangerously high. Once again Rusty a very good post.

Helder September 30, 2008 at 9:34 am

I forgot to say, you can publish pictures of beautiful fit women anytime, it always fits your posts about beauty, fitness and health

Rachel September 30, 2008 at 11:43 am

You said, “you cannot exercise away overeating” I have found this to be true on a slightly diferent angle for my ectomorphic body type, for me, it is I can’t exercise away eating junk food.

Between my first and second child, I was extremely active working out every day. BUT, I still had cellulite on my hams and lower glutes no matter how hard I worked.

After giving birth to my second child, my cellulite was at it’s all time worst, so I decided to clean up my diet this time, in addition to working out daily. Guess what, my cellulite is 99% gone for the first time in my adult life! =)

Luke September 30, 2008 at 1:17 pm

One of my favourite posts yet!!
A big statement to make I know but I have been through the same reckoning as you Rusty and I also now ‘see the light’

As you know, my injury has forced me out of the gym. So I have focussed on a clean, natual diet (90% of the time) and used IF as a tool in a strict fashion for the first time.

Some may read this and think the weight loss results are obvious but I can see what Rusty means when he writes:

“What you eat is a huge indicator of how lean you will become. I didn’t really believe this until this past summer”

This is true of myself. I have become leaner through diet than I ever have done through exercise.
As I have been in a sling for 6 weeks I have done zero exercise (apart from walking of course). So the playing field was level – the results I have seen are purely from diet and using IF.

Sadly I have lost a bit more LBM (lean body mass) than I would have done if I had got those strength training sessions in twice a week but this was not possible for me. Despite this, I haven’t lost as much muscle as I may have thought I would. The main wastage is on the side my arm was in a sling. (shoulder & bicep atrophed somewhat)
Hopefully muscle memory will serve well and when I can finally do body weight stuff in a few months I can regain some of that muscle.

So to sum up, strenuous exercise is important and good fun but I do not believe that it is vital to becoming lean. Diet is the number one factor!

After your personal experience, I hope you would agree Rusty?

Cheers,

Luke.

Gregg September 30, 2008 at 1:40 pm

I must say, I completely disagree with what you have written here (fan of all else though!). It has been proven that what you eat affects body composition much more than how much you eat. Body comp being good with low amounts of bodyfat and higher lean muscle when consuming “healthy foods”. People that go on calorie restriction diets and still consume processed foods will lose muscle mass and gain bodyfat — all the while possibly losing weight, but that is horrible! I know from my own experience that I now eat a larger amount of total calories of good food each day than I used to when eating worse food – and guess what, my bf% is down and my weight is down.

Adam Chen September 30, 2008 at 4:03 pm

I find this to be very true. I was once obese and ended up losing 60 lbs in a year by going on the south beach diet. Now I realize that almost any low-carb low-calorie diet would have worked for me since I was so fat back then. However due to my extreme weight loss, I have a lot of loose skin, most noticeably in my cheeks. I was wondering if you know people that have had success with loose skin creams or things of those nature.

I read in a different post of yours that loose skin will snap back in time, but its hard living with loose skin on cheeks since it doesn’t make me look natural, however I can handle the loose skin on my stomach and etc. thank you for your time and as always, another amazing post.

ironmom September 30, 2008 at 6:33 pm

Hi Rusty,

You mentioned that the Warrior diet was good, but not realistic and like the Eat Stop Eat better. How is the Warrior diet not as good as the other, in your opinion? I wondered if it is because once you eat, then it is hard to stop eating until you are satisfied, versus the Eat Stop Eat doesn’t get the appetite going before eating the big meal.
Any other insights regarding why you like it better would be great to hear. Thanks.

Steven September 30, 2008 at 7:38 pm

No, the chic is not borderline tacky, just plain hot.

Christine September 30, 2008 at 8:11 pm

Rusty,
I always followed the Warrior Diet, and loved it. I’m curious as to why you like this diet better. I would think fasting partially every day would be better than doing a complete fast 1-2 times/week.

Also, for Rachel, can you tell me more about your diet. Are you doing low carb? Do you fast? I too have bad cellulite after having my baby, although I’m on the smaller side (wear a 2 or a 4).

Thanks!
Tina

BurritoKid September 30, 2008 at 8:55 pm

can you explain how you use eat stop eat? you said you fast strategically. thanks!

Andrew September 30, 2008 at 10:42 pm

Can always count on you Rusty when I’m – uhm… looking for really good images on the web.

Andrew

Hulbs October 1, 2008 at 5:14 am

Nice post as always Rusty.

It’s true what you say re. it not being PC to tell people that they eat too much, but fine for them to comment on how little you eat (and therefroe why you are so skinny).

I’m one of those people who tends to speak my mind more than most and I often tell people (sometimes friends, sometimes just other work colleges) that there is no point them complaining they don’t have time for exercise, etc etc when if they would just stop eating sooo much they would lose weight! Funnily enough they usually agree with me and say something like ‘yeah i know i have to eat better to get fit like i used to be and i will get fit again crap crap crap…. but they never seem to change their habits.

p.s. the girl is smokin!!!

Hulbs

Sandy October 1, 2008 at 8:25 am

The Warrior Diet is working for me. Do you recommend Eat Stop Eat only because you find it easier, or is it actually better/healthier than the Warrior Diet? Thanks for any answer you can give. I absolutely love your site!

Luke October 1, 2008 at 9:04 am

Gregg –
Valid point but I think it goes without saying that the sort of people experimenting with IF wont just eat junk during their ‘eating window’. I’m sure Rusty wouldn’t advocate restricting calories whilst neglecting where you get your limited calories from.

No doubt both the what & when are important factors that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Giselle October 1, 2008 at 11:29 am

The best Fast’s in my opinion are juice fasts, drinking nothing but fresh pressed fruits and vegetables. I feel so great doing one of these fasts, and I didn’t get the normal headachy cranky fatigue that comes with not eating. Plus I got a huge buzz off of all those natural sugars haha/

Rachel October 1, 2008 at 3:27 pm

In response to Christine:

Because of my ectomorphic body type, I don’t count calories or fast at all. I’m 5’4 and 98 lbs so I don’t think it would be wise for me to fast. I just make sure I eat healthy. I don’t do low carb, but I do avoid going too crazy with carbs. For breakfast I usually have egg whites and 1 slice regular whole wheat toast. For snacks, I often have wheat germ with berries and lots of milk on top. (like cereal) I eat *alot* of vegetables. I do fruit smoothies. My husband was gaining weight on my smoothies so he had to back off on those. I eat lean poultry for meat. Basically I try to only consume healthy fats, I avoid bad fats, and I try to keep it low carb if it’s close to bedtime. I do not consume any dairy at all. I drink soy milk. I also walk my dogs 3 miles a day in addition to my workouts.

Alecia October 2, 2008 at 12:48 am

I would love your opinion on something. My goal is to get to about 12% bf. I am female 5’4″ 126lb and about 18%bf i think. Am I on the right path doing SFP in the morning(15 min HIIT followed by 20-40min steady state) then 4 days weight training in the evening 7sets 5 reps and doing eat stop eat kind of warrior style mixed in. avoiding carbs and sugar….how does all that sound? should I change something? focus on something i’m missing. Do you think this will take me a long time? Is there something I can do to be more efficient? Can’t wait for your reply! thank you

3ller October 2, 2008 at 2:02 pm

haven’t they found out that soy is bad?

admin October 2, 2008 at 4:48 pm

Karie,

You can fast after your workout. A lot of people do IF, workout in the morning and it still works well.

Vankat,

Brad’s book is great…I really liked it as well. As far as losing that last little bit of abdominal fat, back off on the carbs and do some hard intervals after lifting. Seattle is a beautiful city. I love it…although it helps to take a trip to somewhere sunny during the rainy season.

Michael,

This is the perfect diet for a college student. I used to fall asleep in my afternoon classes, due to eating lunch. Students who haven’t tried this way of eating will be surprised at the mental clarity you have without food in your system. Just a bit of black coffee and you will be able to hit the books hard without feeling groggy.

Nathan,

The Warrior diet works, but Ori recommends that people eat large meals just once per day. I like Brad’s approach of not increasing the meal size and just doing this twice per week. The Warrior Diet is every day, although Ori says you can customize it. I guess Eat Stop Eat just seems like a more doable “real world” approach to IF.

Yegin,

People have been brainwashed to eat small meals every few hours. It doesn’t even make logical sense. If your body is always fueled up with food, it will never use fat for energy…oh well, at least the readers of this site will be able to get lean 🙂

Methuselah,

Brad recommend a normal diet on days that you aren’t fasting. If you are trying to get really lean, you would probably need to be a bit stricter on non-fasting days…but if you are already lean, you can eat basic healthy foods in normal amounts. Like you said…”follow your hunger” on those days.

Kellen,

I don’t even calorie count anymore. Methuselah put it best…”follow your hunger” on non-fasting days. That being said, I try to eat fruits and veggies along with meat for some of my meals and avoid white flower and excess carbs…but this is just part of the time. Yesterday I had 3 large pieces of pizza for lunch and Asian Chicken Salad for dinner with made with freshly cut vegetables, chicken breasts, and a sesame vinegar dressing. I only ate twice yesterday, since the pizza kept me full all day. On days I eat cleaner meals, I typically eat three times per day.

Adam,

I’ve corresponded with Brad over e-mail…he seems like a great guy. He has a better way of explaining this diet, then anybody else. Bottom line…his approach flat out works. Thanks for the link…sweet looking Squidoo lens, by the way (I have a few out there as well).

eric,

If you just have time to workout 2-3 times per week, then do a basic strength training routine. Day one: chest, back, abs….Day two: shoulders, biceps, triceps. Aim to get stronger in the 3-5 rep range for a while. As far as explaining IF to your family. Send them over to Mike O’Donnell’s site theiflife.com/

Helder,

Great advice about not bulking! For of all, who want to be bulky? The funniest thing is that after a bulking then cutting period, natural lifters only put on a few pounds of mass anyway…and look terrible when they are in the bloated bulk stage (you guys know I’m opinionated about this…it looks bad). Lean slim and strong is the way to go.

Rachel,

Great news about the cellulite. People need to know that it takes time to eliminate the last bit of stubborn body fat, which for many women is cellulite.

Luke,

I completely agree. It is funny how important diet is. The better your diet, the less time you need to focus on cardio to stay lean. I’m still a huge fan of cario, for health benefits and that little bit of “extra” sharpness…it is nice to know that in cases like yours where you simply can’t workout, you can still look great.

Gregg,

I agree that healthy foods are the way to go…certainly you don’t want to go overboard on junk food…overall I recommend eating healthy. We aren’t in complete disagreement here. You will look and feel better eating healthy whole foods.

Adam,

Hang in there and that loose skin will tighten up over time. What you will want to make sure is that you never get overweight again…this is a paradigm shift for most people, but you can live the rest of your life in “maintenance mode” if you want.

ironmom,

It just feels healthier to not eat a huge meal once per night. Brad advocates eating normal all the time, except for those two days of fasting…and that meal or two at night after the 20 hours of fasting is normal sized as well. I just seem to stay leaner doing it the way Brad recommends.

Steven,

The woman in the picture looks great. We agree there. I just think it is funny to put up a picture of a woman in a swimsuit for a post on eating…people seem to like these types of photos better than boring pictures of food, so I’ll keep up the more entertaining photos.

Christine,

The fasting period for Eat Stop Eat is the same as the Warrior Diet, you only do it 2 times per week and the biggest difference is that you eat a normal size meal at night on those two fasting days.

BurritoKid,

I guess the strategic part for me would be that I try my best to get a workout in after a day of fasting…it seems to amplify the results.

Andrew,

Thanks buddy…your blog looks fantastic as always. I clicked the “thesis” link from your site, since I’m shopping for themes…it looks like a good one.

Hulbs,

The funny thing about eating too much is that it makes you want to eat more. Kind of like sleeping…too much makes you tired and crave more sleep. What a bad viscous cycle!

Sandy,

Thanks for the compliment on my site…I have a fun time with this. I like Eat Stop Eat better and it does seem healthier, but I don’t have proof. Both diets work well…I guess it is just a matter of choice.

Giselle,

I do pick 1-2 days a month where I eat nothing but fruit, just to detox my body a bit. It works well and I love the way it makes me feel!

Alecia,

If you follow the approach you outlined above, it won’t take you long at all to reach your goal. I’m assuming that you are doing SFP 4 days a week on the same days as weight training?

3ller,

Large amounts of soy have been shown to boost estrogen levels and cause the accumulation of stubborn body fat. There is a bit of controversy about Soy. I avoid it because it irritates the heck out of my stomach and I don’t like the taste. It probably works well for some people and not good for others. I’m not a fan.

Awesome Comments…This is a Popular Topic!

Rusty

Deformed October 2, 2008 at 11:58 pm

Hi Rusty, I’ve read most of the articles you’ve written on this blog, and have found them both insightful and applicable to me. I know that, due to volume, you’ve not been able to respond to some questions posed to you. In respect to this, I promise to cut to the chase of my question and keep it simple:

Parts of me are naturally skinny: Legs and stomach area.

Parts of me (from training) are over-muscled: Arms and chest.

My goal: A defined, lean-muscle look all over, which requires building up my legs (which are like stilts) and abs a bit, but reducing my arms (which are too thick) and chest (which sticks out and isn’t broad).

My question is this (trying to keep it simple): What do you recommend for reducing muscly arms and for broadening / flattening a chest? I’ve only ever done inclines and flats, but can declines be used to tone instead of creating drooping in the chest?

Hannah October 3, 2008 at 2:32 pm

So… you just eat whenever on days that you don’t fast?

And insofar as “cheating” goes…when is it best to do so? The day after the fast or when you break the fast?

Since I’m overweight, ( by probably about 30lbs ) would I have to count calories on the days that I’m not fasting? Or simply “watch my portions” ( I don’t understand that saying ). Counting, if I need to, is not problamo for me at all.

I’d eat healthy foods of course ( veggies, fruits, lean proteins, and *gasp* whole grains ) all the time…trust me, I don’t eat a lot of grains (: just two of slices of bread with my tuna.

Anyway Rusty, I love your blog and… she’s hot!

Tom Parker October 3, 2008 at 7:03 pm

Fantastic post Rusty. Ever since I started my blog around a year ago I’ve learned more and more about the importance of good nutrition. I stayed away from fasting until very recently because (as you mention in your article) I thought it would lead to the loss of muscle as well as fat. However, after reading a number of articles stating that in the short to medium term fasting will not cause you to lose fat, I decided to give it a try.

I now do a full 24 hour fast every Saturday and have really noticed the benefits. In particular, I’ve noticed my stomach (an area which I really struggle to lose fat from) has become a lot more defined.

What has surprised me about these 24 hour fasts is that I’ve not actually struggled with them that much. I thought since I eat 6 mini meals per day, going without food for a full day would be very difficult BUT whilst there are times during the fast when I feel like eating I never get full on hunger cravings.

Gregg October 4, 2008 at 11:22 am

Hannah,

If you’re overweight by 30lbs, I would skip the cheating – you can afford to right now. Instead, just have a day a week to refeed. No junk food.

admin October 4, 2008 at 9:05 pm

Deformed,

If you really need to add mass to your legs, just do squats. I rarely recommend squats and don’t believe in doing them long-term, but for a quick surge of leg size you can’t beat them. For a wider chest, focus on wide grip benches for a while as well as dumbbell flyes where you focus on the bottom 2/3 of the movement (don’t come all the way up). In fact think wide grip on most of your exercises for a while…I had this same problem when I first began working out and it helped a ton. Don’t do declines.

Hannah,

Gregg beat me to the punch…great advice. You can operate under a larger calorie deficit since you are overweight. Once you get closer to your target weight you will want to add more calories.

Tom,

I love hearing results people are having with this way of eating. It works extremely well, and hopefully more people will be willing to give it a shot after reading your comment.

Rusty

Christine October 5, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Rusty,
Do you drink coffee during your fasting period? If so, is a little milk allowed or does that jumpstart the digestive process and kill the fast? Also, do you eat low carb still when you are eating? Thanks for all the advice. I loved the Warrior Diet, but I’m stuck at this weight and it’s hard to follow every day, since my social life sometimes entails meeting up for lunch.

BurritoKid October 5, 2008 at 7:29 pm

once you get into “maintance mode” do you find that keeping calories in check and working out is good enough to keep you there? or does the quality of food that took you to low body fat levels have to remain the same?

Deformed October 7, 2008 at 5:47 pm

Thank you, Rusty. Your advice is much appreciated. Keep it up, man. Again, thanks alot.

Heather October 8, 2008 at 11:29 pm

Hi Rusty,

Do you eat breakfast on your non fasting days? Mike’s site is pretty much against breakfast and from what I gather, he suggests it’s best to wait to eat until the afternoon.

Paul Rogers October 9, 2008 at 9:24 pm

I knew a low-carber who used to order pizza with the family . . . and then take the topping off and throw away the crust. There is a limit as to how silly one can get!

I had not heard of ‘Eat Stop Eat’ previously, although familiar with the Warrior Diet. It’s not as crazy as some, although I might favor half-day fasts, ensure you keep the resistance work up, and make sure not to overeat when you break the fast. I’ve done 2-day fasts (some time ago) and you’re ready to eat whole beasts by the end.

admin October 11, 2008 at 3:02 pm

Christine,

Just black coffee when fasting. I go low carb on my eating days when I feel I need to sharpen up a bit. Eat Stop Eat is a realistic way to do IF…I follow this diet plan now…love it!

BurritoKid,

In “Maintenance mode” you can eat loose until you notice that you need to sharpen up a tiny bit. Typically you fluctuate up and down 3-5 pounds throughout the year. The cool thing is that you are always 2-4 weeks away from being ripped. So the answer is that you eat strict for a while and loose for a while and look great the whole time. Hope that makes sense.

Heather,

I rarely eat breakfast. I like to start the day with coffee. If I do eat breakfast it is super light…a Fuji and a cup of Vanilla Yogurt. A large breakfast will slow you down and make you crave a mind-day nap.

Paul,

I took a look at your site. Your course looks comprehensive. I like it that you include power-point slides. Anyway…you are from Down-Under…I need to visit OZ soon!

Eat Stop Eat is a solid diet plan and I prefer it over The Warrior Diet. The Warrior Diet is good, but I tended to eat too much at night.

Cheers,

Rusty

Diana October 11, 2008 at 11:41 pm

Your website is unbelievable!!! Its like you have been present in many of my own conversations!I disagree with so much of the fitness info out there. I felt like I was the only one who believed the following (until I read your site!): I agree so much with all the controversial things , being hungry is needed to lose fat, sometimes you DO need to lose muscle, bikes make your legs bigger, it doesnt have to be all or nothing, america is scared of being hungry, insulin is the devil, and women do NOT want meat heads. Thanks for your site, I bought your book on fasting!

Jani October 12, 2008 at 12:09 pm

Hey Rusty , does this work if I fast/eat a low calorie diet every day? Or is it better to fast only a couple of days a week?
Cheers if you answer!

Jani October 12, 2008 at 12:20 pm

By fasting/low calorie diet I meant eating only break fast and dinner.
Say cereal in the morning and Eggs for dinner. And some fruits in between. Is that kind of a light diet beneficial or is it not.
Thank you!

Andrew R October 13, 2008 at 3:46 am

Hey Rusty,

I really agree with you on the fact that you “can’t out exercise a bad diet”. In my post on gaining definition in your abs, I harp on this point quite a bit! It seems to me that the overall benefits, both aesthetic and internal come mainly from a good healthy diet, incorporating the proper amounts of servings of fruits and vegetables.

http://www.gohealthygofit.com..ore-diet-less-exercise/

Thanks for the great post!

All the Best,

Andrew R

eric October 14, 2008 at 4:46 pm

hey rusty..i have a problem. it seems that i have lost my feeling of satiety. i think one reason might be that i sort of overdo it with IF and especially with the warrior diet in the last month. when i tried the warrior diet for example or other versions of daily fasting i usually eat rather big meals…sometimes in a short time period. so, i follow “eat stop eat” now and feeling fine..except for feeling never satisfied during my meals and snack all the time because i am “allowed to eat”most of the time i am not fasting..do you think i had massively exaggerate it with fasting? sometimes i have the impression that i developed some kind of an eating disorder or something..i think i got a bit too obsessed about eating..any suggestions?

admin October 17, 2008 at 4:31 pm

Diana,

Thanks for the compliments and all of the great comments. The nice thing about having a private website is that I’m not influenced in “any way shape or form” by any supplement company. I can call it like I see it. I tell people exactly what I would do if I was in their shoes…not just stuff that sounds good. Brad Pilon, who is one of my acquaintances is the author of Eat Stop Eat. He is cool as hell and one of the “good guys” in the fitness industry. I hope his book reaches a lot more people. His diet flat out works.

Jani,

The big benefit to fasting comes when you fast for at least 18-24 hours straight. So you would eat a dinner on Tuesday at 6pm. and not eat again until Wednesday at 5 pm…then maybe again a couple hours later. You pick one other day of the week to do the same thing. It sound tough, but it is pretty easy…it also gives you the flexibility to be able to go out to eat and eat a big meal every now and then…something you can’t do on a 6 meal per day approach unless you want to put on weight.

Andrew,

Excellent post on your blog. I commented, but I think my computer was acting up and it didn’t post. I will try again at some point. You have lengthy posts that deliver a lot of info. I told you to quit, so you wouldn’t make me look lazy 🙂 Great stuff buddy!

eric,

Let yourself eat some big meals every now and then. I eat some really big meals at least twice a week (I like going out to eat every now and then and getting full). You will still remain lean. No need to be so strict.

Rusty

Tams October 19, 2008 at 10:44 pm

Hey Rusty,

I have been reading your posts like crazy – they’re fantastic! – and i’ve been giving the whole IF thing a go but i have some questions; when im fasting i chew gum so that im not tempted to chew on food. does this affect how insulin works? cause one of your posts says if you eat anything your insulin levels go up and then you do the wieght gain thing…does gum do the same thing even though your not really swallowing anything? also, i was having a debate with a friend yesterday and i was wondering your opinion; milk or soy? she says soy is better because its easier to digest, but im really caught up on the calorie side of things because trim milk has less! what do you think?

craig ballantyne October 20, 2008 at 8:50 pm

I’m a big fan of ESE, even though i was skeptical at first. I have a lot of clients who have used it with great success!

Craig

Tasha October 24, 2008 at 4:50 am

Isn’t this the same as eating one meal a day? I mean I normally eat my one meal around 6pm and don’t eat again until 6pm the next day. Would you say I’m already doing the 24 hour fast? If so, I’m not seeing many results. I’ve kinda hit a plateau and haven’t been able to lose any more weight. I still have 30 pounds to go. What am I doing wrong? I even added HIIT to my workout. Thanks

admin October 27, 2008 at 5:47 pm

Tams,

Go with milk. Soy has actually been shown in some cases to increase estrogen levels and cause an accumulation of stubborn body fat. I won’t go into to details about this, but do a Google search on soy and increasing estrogen levels. Chewing gum is fine and won’t have a negative effect.

Craig,

I’m pumped you stopped by! You are a true innovator and I have been following your teachings for the past few years. I’m kind of a cardio guy, but not long drawn out cardio…just a bit of HIIT followed by 20 minutes of steady state cardio.

Note: For anyone reading this. Craig has developed an amazing training course that is an advanced way to burn body fat without cardio. His methods work well and is a way to get lean if you can’t stand traditional cardio. Turbulence Training

Tasha,

You are doing 24 hour fasts like Brad recommends, but he only recommends twice per week. Believe it or not, I’ve found that I can stay leaner this way than doing this everyday.

Rusty

Joseph Michael October 28, 2008 at 1:46 am

#1 – Juice fasting is not fasting….

#2 – Juice is not that great for you, it is all sugar….

Cyan December 5, 2008 at 9:00 am

Hi
I am really interested in your site and I am want to try the Intermittent Fasting plan. I am 196 pounds and my goal weight is reach to 145 pounds. Would this fasting regimen help me to loss the weight.
I currently attend the gym 4 times a week and its been four years and I’ve been up and down with my weight. The least I’ve ever weighed was 180 pounds. Also I’ve been trying to purchase the Eat Stop Eat book but it can’t be shipped to my location. Intermittent Fasting, is it just fasting for two days a week and you would get results?, is it so easy? And at least exercising 3 times a week….? Please explain. Awaiting your reply with bated breath and thank you in advance.

Cyan December 5, 2008 at 4:39 pm

Hi again,
With IF, after fasting all day, do you need to eat in the night? If so what can you eat? I thought you had to fast for 24 hours staight through for two days a week? While fasting in the day can you take multivitamins? I have so many questions? Thanks

Dan December 18, 2008 at 4:29 pm

Hey Rusty,
I have been working out solidly for a little over a year. I am 5’8 and 140lbs. with a body fat percent in the 4-5 range. I have an upcoming surgery that will keep me from excercising for three weeks. What is the best way to prevent muscle loss during this time?

Greg April 19, 2009 at 8:39 am

Right on target with this. People don’t want to hear that the equation for weight loss demands simply consuming fewer calories.

Julian April 29, 2009 at 10:51 am

lowering your caloric intake to lose weight is true, starving yourself? insane. eat smaller portions of balanced meals and excersize= fat loss. its that simple. avoid sugary, salty, saturated fat snacks, try almonds for example, food with lots of fiber, yummy! i agree with a lot of the things on this site, but not this. People just want shortcuts, unfortunately, there are none when it comes to fat loss, just hardwork and dedication. dont cheat yourself, its unhealthy.

Jason G May 1, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Julian,
This article is a little old but it’s the main page I use to save fitness black book. Here’s my message to you since you’re probably going to have limited feedback:

Weight loss is easy. You cut calories or burn calories. Its only hard work if you choose the second option. Starving yourself is not eating. Weight loss is eating less calories than you burn. YOU HAVE TO LOWER YOUR CALORIE INTAKE TO LOSE WEIGHT EVEN WHEN EATING HEALTHY FOODS. People who lose weight because of healthy eating are usually eating higher fiber, less fat and protein resulting in fewer calories in their diet (aka lower calorie intake). Welcome to weight loss 101!

Daniel July 19, 2010 at 4:05 pm

“I was overdue for a picture of a fit woman in a swimsuit. I know it is borderline tacky, but it just makes the article more fun to read!”

I would not have noticed this article otherwise!

Daniel July 19, 2010 at 4:14 pm

…and if you can’t afford eat stop eat, think about the money you will save not eating twice a week for 24 hours. Maybe fast for some weeks and save up some money. LOL

Julie February 8, 2011 at 3:10 pm

I really liked your information. I think it was great! I love reading as much as I can about fitness and health. 2 of the biggest things that should be part of our lives!

Logan Bates March 24, 2013 at 2:38 pm

I really think it just depends on your goals! If your trying to shed weight or tone muscles, then fasting or eating low calories a few days of the week is definitely a good resource, but if your trying to bulk up or gain even a little muscle mass than you obviously want to be taking in more calories, maybe even more than your burning in your workout! Great article though some people really don’t get this concept!!

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